Teams' opener switched to Saturday

Updated: September 10, 2004, 10:27 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The NFL game between the Titans and Dolphins is being moved from Sunday to Saturday at 1 p.m. ET because of concerns about Hurricane Ivan's hitting the Miami area.

Ivan could reach southern Florida as soon as Sunday, forecasters said. The Dolphins and Titans had been scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. ET that day.

"It's pretty wild," Miami linebacker Junior Seau said Thursday. "Where I come from, we have earthquakes. It just happens. Here, you can monitor hurricanes for days and days and your life stops.

"With the weather we have, it can scare a lot of our fan support away and that's understandable."

For the Dolphins, the scheduling change is the latest development in a preseason that included the retirement of running back Ricky Williams and concerns about Hurricane Frances. The storm last week prompted talk of a player boycott when the Dolphins were forced to play a preseason game in New Orleans against their wishes as the storm threatened Florida.

"We're bullet-proof at this point," coach Dave Wannstedt said. "There's nothing that anyone can do or say that will hurt us. Everyone knows what we've been through."

The change was made to allow Miami residents and officials more time to prepare for Ivan, which has top sustained winds of 160 mph. At midday Thursday, it was about 900 miles southeast of Miami. It could hit Florida by Monday, forecasters said.

The sold-out game will be televised by CBS affiliates in Miami and Tennessee.

As the Dolphins prepared to practice Thursday, quarterbacks A.J. Feeley and Sage Rosenfels studied a laptop showing the projected path of the hurricane.

In 1992, devastation from Hurricane Andrew forced the Dolphins to move their opener against New England to the bye week in October.

In a phone call Thursday morning, Wannstedt made the proposal and Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher agreed to it. The NFL made the final decision early Thursday afternoon.

There have been concerns that police personnel might not be available to provide security at Pro Player Stadium. While the Titans had no issues with traveling to Miami, they were concerned about being stuck in Miami during the hurricane.

Tourists and residents were told Thursday they will have to leave the Florida Keys to avoid Ivan, which would be the third hurricane to hit Florida in a month. The last time three hurricanes hit Florida in a single season was 1964, when Cleo, Dora and Isabel hit the state.

Ivan has already killed at least 15 people as it tears through the Caribbean, the most powerful hurricane to hit there in a decade. National Hurricane Center forecasters predict that Ivan could hit the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane, with wind of 131 to 155 mph.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.